Today, the United States, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and in partnership with Save the Children, received 320 metric tons of split yellow peas to nourish school children across Sri Lanka. The donation is part of a larger one of 3,000 metric tons of food. U.S. Ambassador Julie Chung, the Dr Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Education, and representatives from the Ministry of Health, the National Planning Department, and Save the Children attended the hand-over ceremony.
“This donation from the American people targets the most vulnerable Sri Lankans – children – and enables them to focus on their schooling rather than on their hunger. Every nourishing meal will be a testament to the U.S.’s commitment to helping all Sri Lankans emerge from the worst economic crisis since the country’s independence,” said Ambassador Julie Chung.
The shipment is part of the USDA McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, a five-year $26 million project aimed at providing immediate emergency assistance to the food insecure to improve literacy and attendance by reducing hunger. The USDA and its partner Save the Children work with the Sri Lankan government and local communities to ensure food reaches those most in need. Between June 2021 and January 2022 alone, the project, called Promoting Autonomy for Literacy and Attentiveness through Market Alliances (PALAM/A), provided protein supplements twice in the form of split yellow peas and Alaskan pink salmon to more than 105,000 children and their families – more than 460,000 Sri Lankans in total – during COVID-19 lockdowns. As of Mid-August, PALAM/A has provided supplemental nutrition to approximately 50,000 schoolchildren.
The donation reflects the U.S.’s larger efforts to scale up food security operations worldwide to provide record amounts of immediate emergency assistance in order to save lives and alleviate suffering. Food security programs are just one component of the longstanding partnership between the American and Sri Lankan people to support Sri Lanka’s development journey and promote economic sustainability. In addition to ongoing projects PALAM/A, the United States has announced more than $179 million in new assistance to Sri Lanka this year, including nearly $32 million in new humanitarian and technical assistance since June alone.